Tuesday, 12 June 2012 19:25
Some 400 Bureau of Customs (BoC) employees at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) on Monday demanded from airline companies payment of their meal allowance and overtime services rendered, in line with the April 18 Supreme Court ruling denying the second motion for reconsideration filed by the Board of Airline Representatives (BAR).
The first motion for reconsideration was filed on November 16, 2011.
NAIA Customs District Collector Carlos So earlier said the motion is now final and executory.
He cited section 3506 of the Tariff Law governing mode of payment for overtime service, meals and traveling expenses for NAIA customs employees payable by the airline companies, aircraft operators, importers, exporters and brokers.
In its July 2009 decision, the Court of Appeals' Sixth Division ruled as unconstitutional BoC Administrative Circular No. 7-92 (CAO 7-92) dated April 24, 1992.
The order requires the airlines to pay for the Overtime Pay, Traveling, Board and Lodging Expenses and/or Meal Allowance of Customs personnel at the NAIA.
A separate order, CAO 1-2005, amended CAO 7-92 by increasing the rates of all the charges by more than 100 percent.
Both orders were ordered scrapped by the CA in favor of the Board of Airline Representatives (BAR).
The BAR is composed of Asiana Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Cebu Pacific, China Airlines, China Southern Airlines, Continental Micronesia Airlines, Emirates, Etihad Airways, Eva Air Airways, Federal Express Corp., Gulf Air, Japan Airlines, Air France, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Korean Air, Kuwait Airways Corp., Lufthansa German Airlines, Malaysia Airlines, Northwest Airlines, Philippine Airlines, Qantas Airlines, Qatar Airlines, Royal Brunei Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Swiss International Airlines, Saudi Arabian Airlines and Thai International Airways.
The BAR has urged the government to put into active operations all key airports and not just the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) on a 24/7 basis.
This would help make the country more tourist-friendly and also decongest Manila.
The airline operators said the present one-shift system, which starts at 8 a.m. and ends at 5 p.m., is no longer fashionable globally.
This is the reason used by airport customs, immigration, and quarantine (CIQ) personnel to charge airlines for overtime pay.
The Airport customs had expanded the practice unilaterally to include meals and transportation allowance, the BAR said.
In order to avoid the conflict, Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima said the BoC will hire more employees to man the country’s main airport facilities as the agency is set to implement a round-the-clock service at the NAIA.
Customs Commissioner Rozzano Rufino Biazon, who agreed with the proposal, said the hiring will start as soon as the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) approves the plan to hire 150 more employees to man the airport 24/7.
Biazon said the BoC communicated its plan in a letter to the DBM two weeks ago but has not received any reply yet.
“The airlines are supportive of any move to improve the services, such as hiring of additional personnel, as long as it’s not an added cost to them,” Biazon said.
However, Collector So said the BoC would hire 1,000 more customs personnel with a budget of P1 billion to finance the new set up.
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